In the event you haven't heard, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was fired up yesterday. The popular press seems to fixate on two things about this experiment: 1) it may tell us something about the origin of the universe and 2) it may tell us something about the end of the universe.
The best comment I've seen in this respect is the website http://www.hasthelhcdestroyedtheearth.com/, which consists of a single word: "NO".
Thirty one milion miles from earth the Deep Impact probe captures images of the moon passing in front of earth.
Isn't that marvelous?
20.5 light-years away is a planet neither too large, too small, too hot nor too cold. Seriously. They are calling it the "Goldilocks Zone" where everything is just right.
Finally. Someplace we can go after we've screwed Earth.
This has to be one of the best ever commentaries on those who oppose stem cell research:
At first, it just sounds silly. Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams plans to run the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon April 16, 2007 on a treadmill while aboard the International Space Station. Yes, at first it just sounds silly. Then you realize it is the ISS, after all, so it is not as if she has anything better to do.
The Associated Press is running a story on Pi. Or rather, people who like Pi so much they get together to talk about it.
But in yet another example of poor understanding (or poor writing at least) about science in the mass media, AP reports that Pi is:
"made up of a chain that is known — so far — to be more than one trillion digits long"
In anticipation of the then-upcoming lunar eclipse on Saturday March 3, 2007 the AP released a story entitled "Total lunar eclipse expected on Saturday", which appeared in the USAToday and elsewhere. "Expected"? Excuse me, but that's just a bit lame. Rain may be expected, or not. Even taxes may be said to be expected. But lunar eclipses simply are. Characterizing one as merely "expected" requires us to toss out the very idea of "certainty".
By signing the new National Space Policy, President Bush moves one step closer to placing NASA within the Department of Defense. Conceived as a weapons system in the Cold War, NASA has in many ways floundered since achieving it's major objectives of securing the high ground and contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union. But NASA has always maintained a patina of civil, scientific and peaceful goals even if defense concerns were always just beneath the surface.
2500 activist scientists in Prague considered expanding the league of planets from the present 9 to 12 by adding Ceres, Charon (Pluto's moon) and Xena (officially 2003 UB313). Neo-con scientists waited for the last day of the meeting when all but 424 of the original 2700 had left and spang their counter attack, ousting the little bitty bits and Pluto too, reducing the solar system to 8.
Alas poor Pluto, we hardly knew yee.